Almost $6 million in grants support government crime prevention priorities

Seizures of proceeds of crime lead to safer communities


Mike Farnworth

PROGRAMS that mentor youth to resist joining gangs, support women escaping violence and help Indigenous families heal from intergenerational traumas will benefit from just over $6 million in grants supporting government crime prevention priorities.

In total, more than 170 local organizations and projects – led by community not-for-profits, school districts, and more – will receive a one-time grant through the Crime Prevention and Remediation grant program.

“Taking the proceeds of crime and putting them back into our communities to help prevent further crime is just one way to help make our neighbourhoods safer,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Many of these organizations are working with our most vulnerable citizens, helping them to rebuild and heal after years of violence, or working to prevent youth from engaging in a life of crime.”

Farnworth announced the grant recipients at an event at MOSAIC-BC in Surrey. MOSAIC-BC is part of a collaborative that is receiving a $75,000 grant to conduct training workshops to develop locally and culturally relevant gang-prevention programs for youth and families. Partners include Kwantlen Polytechnic University, MOSAIC-BC, the South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence, the City of Surrey and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit BC.

Community programs and services that address crime reduction and crime prevention, including initiatives to tackle gun and gang violence, are receiving more than $1.5 million in total. The remaining grants will help fund community initiatives to prevent violence against women, enhance restorative justice and more.

Some of this year’s grant recipient’s programs include:

* Enhancing Capacity, Warmland Restorative Justice Society (Duncan, $17,000):
To offer facilitator and mentor training for complex restorative justice cases integrating the Victim Sensitive Restorative Justice standards of practice, and to increase awareness among the community.

* Outreach Support to Indigenous Women, Atira Women’s Resource Society (Surrey, $30,000):
To provide a support worker to Indigenous women who are experiencing, or have experienced, violence and homelessness, as well as those involved in street-level sex work.

* Small Business Training Program, Peers Victoria Resource Society (Victoria, $24,848):
To enhance economic security for women transitioning from the sex industry, providing a program curriculum focused on enabling women to launch their own small businesses.

* STOP (Stop Taking it out on your Partner), John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan (Kelowna, $30,000):
To deliver a 12-week program for men at risk of committing domestic violence, along with counselling for couples impacted by, or at risk of, violence.

* Preventing and Responding to Criminal Justice System Involvement, YMCA of Northern BC (Prince George, $71,135):
To expand services for young people aged 12 to 24 years with mental-health and substance-abuse issues, who are involved or are at high risk of being involved with the criminal justice system, providing therapeutic programs, workshops, educational sessions and one-on-one support.

The Civil Forfeiture Office continues to undermine the profit motive behind criminal activity by taking away tools and proceeds of crime and putting them back into programs that support community crime prevention and safety.

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, said: “Finding ways to protect our youth from predatory gang activity is key to making Surrey safer for all the families that live here. Today’s grant announcement will reach into the community and provide another valuable resource to educate young people in making positive decisions for their future.”

Salvador Ferreras, Vice President of Academics, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), said: “This grant will allow KPU and its partners to continue the momentum of previous academic-community collaboration research led by Dr. Gira Bhatt and Dr. Roger Tweed that demonstrated the effectiveness of strength-based gang prevention programming for youth and families in our community. We look forward to working with our partners to translate this research knowledge into community action.”

Ninu Kang, Director of Communications and Development, MOSAIC-BC, said: “We know that there are various reasons why youth get drawn into gang lifestyle, and this is an issue that impacts youth from across all cultures. It is important that staff from services agencies have culturally relevant gang-prevention training and materials to support at-risk youth and their families. We are grateful to Minister Farnworth and the B.C. government, and welcome their partnership to keep our youth safe.”